How true? Gay men fleeing the country to seek refuge in Senegal

The Gambia’s tough stance against homosexuality has allegedly prompted some gay men to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring Senegal. 

Babacarr arrived in Dakar last year. According to Radio France International (RFI) he lives in a tiny room in the suburbs of the Senegalese capital. He was a student and left the country in April 2012. 

The president, Yahya Jammeh recently warned the United Nations General Assembly that gays are a threat to human existence. 

“Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence. It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior." 

Babacarr told RFI: “In Dakar, I encounter the same problems like in the Gambia. I do not have peace here. I'm not working; I have no income, so I cannot pay my rent. I spoke to local organizations, but they said they cannot help me.” 

RFI also reported that a young Gambian gay man died in Senegal after falling ill. Like in The Gambia, he was forced to go into hiding and received limited support during his illness. 

Homosexuality is illegal in The Gambia and homosexuals have been characterized as “being worse than dogs.” Last year, 18 gay men were arrested in a bar and brought before a magistrate court. 

According to Islamic scholars, homosexuality is not only a sin, but a crime under Islamic Law.  The punishment is death. Both the active and passive participants are to be killed. 

“It is a western invention and now they want to force it on us. I strongly support the government’s stance against it,” said an anti-gay activist. 

Photo: from an anti-gay rally in Uganda

 

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